Tags: arminianism | influenced | christian | capitalism

Christian Thought: 3 Ways Arminianism Influenced American Capitalism

By    |   Tuesday, 23 Feb 2016 05:55 PM

The emergence of American capitalism has been linked to the spread of Christian faith within the nation as America grew. The contributing factor most often credited for this phenomenon is the concept of "the Protestant work ethic."

While the teachings of Christian theologian John Calvin have been cited most in connection with American capitalism, there are said to be links to influences on American capitalism based on theology of Jacob Arminius.

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Here are three ways Arminianism had an impact on American capitalism.

1. Arminian theology supported the idea that people had the free will to change their spiritual destiny, which enabled society to break free of social and economic restrictions.

Roland Boer wrote at Political Theology Today about how the Arminianism belief in free will over preordained destiny sparked capitalism.

“So, [Hugo] Grotius (following Arminius) sought to soften the Fall, finding as a result that an individual does have free will, that this is the source of evil and good, indeed that one may deploy that free will to accept or reject God at any point. In short, the individual agent or entrepreneur begins to shake off the mud of his medieval collective existence, in order to become the creator of capitalism. This individual entrepreneur may set out by ship to make a profit, may establish a company to expand such efforts, may run shipyards or factories, may accumulate capital, may on his own volition foster good and punish evil. And in all this, God will bless him.”

2. Essayist Daniel Walker Howe cited Charles Sellers on how Christian free will empowered the individual to competition and wealth-building. Sellers qualified arminian moralism — lowercase “a” — as a sanction to “competitive individualism” and “market rewards of wealth and status.”

3. Arminianism originally appealed to the ruling and merchant classes, whose wealth enabled these Christians to spread simultaneously the gospels of Christianity and capitalism.

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The emergence of American capitalism has been linked to the spread of Christian faith within the nation as America grew. The contributing factor most often credited for this phenomenon is the concept of the Protestant work ethic.
arminianism, influenced, christian, capitalism
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2016-55-23
Tuesday, 23 Feb 2016 05:55 PM
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